A reflection on the changing world: the meaning of the celebrations of the Republic Day and why they must be maintained

(To Andrea Mucedola)

Italy is a great nation that finds its own identity in its history and culture that makes us all Italians. Nonetheless, it is important to understand the relationship between the individual and the state, something that has never been easy in our country, and is perhaps one of the oldest evils found in our history.

As Dante Alighieri said, "Ah, servant Italy, hostel of pain, ship without helmsman in great storm, not woman of provinces, but brothel!".

A divided Italy, city against city, peoples against peoples, people with a common Latin matrix who over time were able to plant the seed of a single nation, escaping the logic of convenience that, in the sixteenth century, Guicciardini ironically already mentioned "or Franza or Spain, as long as it is magna"

Italians, men and women, who knew how to unite under a tricolor flag in the wars of the Risorgimento, for a land that was then bathed with the blood of its children in World War I, which suffered the humiliations of the great powers between the two wars, maturing hatred and grudges that led to the birth of an illiberal regime and a mad war, followed by a bloody civil war whose echoes still echo.

Then the post-war hopeful rebirth of a destroyed Italy that on the one hand was eager to build a different future but on the other was always suffering from an ancient evil that saw a few rotten apples spoiling the work of many.

An industrious Italy, always envied for its beauty, genius, ability where, however, individualism and carelessness continued to be sovereign, harboring the myth of the clever ones, of those who exploit the work of others as parasites; the legacy of italiots, as Montanelli called them, unable to see beyond their noses, caught between the search for personal convenience and the indolence of quiet living.

The post-war period

At the end of the Second World War, the European nations recovered. Thanks to US economic aid with the Marshall Plan, the Italians achieved the post-war miracle that gave new life to economies and hope to those who had lost everything. The world was changing fast. Men and women rightly wanted their rights for a better society recognized. The roles became more and more fluid, even at the cost of breaking the very bricks of Italian society, the families.

The social well-being achieved in the economic boom favored the assimilation of new "values" which, however, had very little Italian. They called him consumerism. It almost seemed that the people, after so much suffering, were looking for a hangover of freedom, like a young student who, after high school, feels the desire to transgress in order to feel more fulfilled. In those furious postwar years, movements were also born that opposed the established power, forgetting that democratically they were part of it.

There were street fights in many European countries between opposing factions, even on the other side of the Iron Curtain, where many young people died in the name of freedom against the communist regimes.

An example of information distortion came from Western intellectual circles where the cries of pain from beyond the curtain were diminished. German playwright Peter Weiss commented: "Czechoslovakian intellectuals have fallen victim to fatal misunderstandings and an overestimation of freedom in the West". This also happened in our country by many intellectuals of the left who defended the indefensible contributing to the political opposition.

Those were terrible years in which democracy was attacked and many servants of the state lost their lives. This contrast led many young people to move away from those values ​​once considered universal.

It was not just an Italian problem

According to some analysts, strategies that were far from random were applied worldwide. Noam Chomsky, a lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, described the techniques used to control and distract the masses from important problems (the panem et circenses of the Latins).

According to Chomsky, a subliminal strategy was applied creating problems to which solutions were immediately offered and following the best practices to make unpopular changes accepted as a necessary evil. Changes often made gradually, presented as "painful and necessary", favoring the tendency to hope that "Everything will be better tomorrow".

According to Chomsky, one was operated on after the war subtle miseducation of the masses, pressing on the emotional side and not on that of reflection in order to instill desires but also fears and uncertainties, and making one believe that being stupid, vulgar and ignorant meant being more true. This whole process was favored by an ever more technical and less introspective school education, actually keeping the masses in ignorance and mediocrity.

It is no coincidence that in recent decades thefunctional illiteracy it has increased around the world and demonstrates how these strategies have effectively (negatively) changed society.

According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, this problem would affect around 80 million individuals in Europe alone. According to it Human Development Report 2009, based on a population between 16 and 65 years old, the lowest concentration is recorded in Norway (7,9%), while the Italian one, according to the Piaac - OECD survey (2019), is at 28%, exceeded only by that of Turkey (47%).

Functional illiteracy involves:

- the inability to adequately understand texts, such as simple newspaper articles, regulations and state laws;

- difficulty in performing simple mathematical calculations and in the use of IT tools, made more and more user friendly to avoid asking questions about their actual reliability;
- superficial knowledge of past historical events, political, scientific, social and economic, with the proliferation of all-rounders who do nothing but repeat what social media tell.

The topic is certainly complex and, far from being exhaustive, the consequences are there for all to see: in the face of the increase in technological means, executives and officials of the Public Administration, on a global level, seem unable to keep up. . The social degradation is evident (masked by a new vision of interpersonal relationships) and the ability to react at the decisional level is often emotional and insufficient.

In a nutshell, there is a need for new ethical and moral references that reassure the Italian people in order to look with greater confidence to the future of our country. The current pandemic has shown, in its tragedy, the weaknesses of a system, with leaders not always up to the task, apparently lacking in vision and capacity for control.

An opportunity arises from every difficulty: the contribution of the Armed Forces and the Order in times of emergency

It was once said that individual freedom ends where that of others begins. A concept developed over time that encompasses two important factors: personal freedom and the need for rules to ensure the rights of all. Historically, to guarantee the right of all, military organizations were born as executive instruments of the will of the state.

The function of the military, yesterday as today, is to transform government directives into effective actions; conceptually their work does not change, whether it occurs in crisis areas or on the territory.

It must be clear that employment decisions always and in any case remain the responsibility of the Political Authority. The military are therefore servants of the state who carry out the orders received from the Minister of Defense (and therefore from the Government), applying their experience and methods for execution.

It would be expected that this function is favored by a particular attention towards them but this, at least in the so-called democratic countries, does not happen (except in the United States). The military microworld has had to constantly develop new strategies internally to be able to carry out its tasks with less and less resources. The constant search for optimization is a strength that has made the Armed Forces a highly efficient organization of the State; this is a fact, also demonstrated in their current use to combat the COVID 19 epidemic. 

Values ​​such as solidarity, example, sacrifice, disinterested community of intentions have reappeared under the eyes of all from the past mists. The old saying: "God and the soldier, during famine and war, are prayed to, but when there is peace God is forgotten and the soldier despised" magically reconfirmed itself… the military, until then designed as an expression of militarist power, which is opposed to moderation and the so-called pacifism (values ​​erroneously considered typical of the civil sphere), have proved to be indispensable tools of the State for the management of emergencies. The method used by the military structure has once again shown that it can overcome the limits of bureaucratic inefficiency, sometimes capable only of building self-justifying architectures.

The lesson, which hopefully has finally been learned, is that no civil organization can afford the luxury of doing without emergency planning, order and hierarchy in order to operate efficiently, especially in times of crisis. An opportunity that offers an unrepeatable possibility to counter the social drift that began in the last century in order to revitalize the ethical and moral values ​​that have always been part of our culture; an action necessary to face a future that certainly does not appear easy. 

Military of the III millennium

The military and law enforcement each year pay a sad contribution from victims of duty, many of whom are unknown. Yet their contribution is not negligible. According to data from the Interior Ministry, from 1961 to today, 3.776 have been the victims of duty among the Police, Armed Forces and Firefighters. Men and women who every day silently work for our safety. They, as was taught in the schools of war, are doubly citizens, because they combine the universal values, which we should all possess, the extreme spirit of sacrifice. An ethical value that finds in the example the driving force of the military.

The combination of self-denial, spirit of sacrifice, transparency and example makes the military a citizen certainly different from the world we live in, in which the parameters of measurement have changed over time, in which easy success, at all costs, is seen as a goal. A morally and ethically questionable "social architecture", which feels judged and defended with sterile and biased criticisms, aimed at hitting that part of the nation that escapes common "metrics", which goes beyond the panem et circenses.

A voice, that of the military, which we can say outside the chorus and which reminds Italians, with daily example, of values ​​that certain lobbies have deliberately made to forget. One wonders if the recurring anti-militarist criticisms, in the political and opinion fields, are in reality linked to the observation of a sense of capacitive inferiority that pushes to counter anything that goes faster than their way of thinking, for an intrinsic fear of stay out of the game. Like the sterile and baseless criticisms made to General Figliuolo regarding the management of the pandemic emergency, not based on an assessment of his modus operandi but directed only against the uniform he wears.

Fortunately, facts matter even more than words. These servants of the Fatherland have always had the honor of parading once a year in the parade on June 2, a tribute to the Italian people on the feast of the Italian Republic, which they have always served with self-denial and a spirit of sacrifice.

What is the value of the Republic Day in a changing world?

Today, June 2, 75 is celebrateda Italian Republic Holiday. We can ask ourselves if the Italian people still recognize its meaning and value; this national holiday was officially celebrated for the first time in 1948 and was fixed every year on June 2 until 1977, when, due to the economic crisis, it was established that it would be remembered every year on the first Sunday of June. The date of June 2 was then re-established, together with the celebrations, by the second Amato government, with a law of November 2000.

The celebrations in the capital include an official ceremonial, which includes the deposition by the President of the Republic of a laurel wreath in homage to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at the Altare della Patria, and the parade, along the Imperial Forums, of representatives of military contingents, the State Police, the Fire Brigade, the Italian Red Cross and other bodies that contribute daily to the well-being of our country, both nationally and abroad. It is not a question of self-exaltation, but of recognition of these citizens who serve the country with great personal sacrifices and that of their families.

Similar ceremonies, albeit to a lesser extent, take place throughout the peninsula and in Italian representations abroad, signifying the sense of unity of purpose of the Italian people.

Its recurrence therefore has a very important symbolic value because it contains and recalls those values ​​that have made us become a nation. It is not about nationalism but about safeguarding our cultural heritage, which makes us unique and of equal dignity with other countries. They are the sovereign values ​​of a people, which cannot be erased by purely economic aspirations.

Yesterday, like today, Italy is not a geographical expression but a great people who on this day rediscover their values ​​that have made them great in history.

In a world that, as we have seen, is changing, for better or for worse, the safeguarding of those ethical and moral values ​​that have characterized our history is therefore fundamental, because they make us unique and proud to be Italian.

Also this year, on the morning of June 2, the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella will go to the Imperial Forums for the deposition of the crown, greeted by the overflight of the Frecce Tricolori that will bring out the colors of our flag on the skies of the capital. For obvious and shared reasons, linked to the pandemic, and to reduce the possibility of social aggregation, the traditional Parade along the Imperial Forums will not take place, nor is the gardens of Palazzo Quirinale, seat of the President of the Italian Republic, open to the public. home of the Italians. It is hoped, however, that television and newspapers will dedicate adequate space to this celebration and to those men and women in uniform who daily serve our country in silence, Italians to whom we all owe respect and gratitude.

Happy Italian Republic Day to all.

Photo: Quirinale / Mondadori / Ministry of Defense / web